As retailers work to prioritize their spending and mobile development in stores, they do so with a focus on addressing the most pressing needs of their consumers. Certain in-store technologies may have a more pressing application in niche retail markets, but general trends have shown that most consumers look for the same things when entering most brick-and-mortar stores.

One recurring theme is a desire for experiences that blend traditional in-store engagement with new mobile innovations.

The value of in-store demonstrations is a perfect example: While product demonstrations and beauty product sampling has long been used as an in-store selling tool, mobile tech can strengthen these experiences by using augmented reality to virtually test makeup, or to see how new products might function outside of the store.

According to Forbes, 60 percent of consumers wants in-store demonstrations: Cooking classes, exercise equipment demos, and so forth. If retailers are surprised that this low-tech engagement strategy remains pivotal to the success of in-store shopping, they only need to remember that this best practice comes with a twist: While demonstrations have a continued application, the most successful such strategies will find ways to enhance that experience through technology.

This desire for in-store demonstrations comes with the growing preference for food and drink options in stores: In other words, consumers want to have more diverse engagement options in stores than simply shopping for products. This is why Barnes & Noble has been revamping its brick-and-mortar strategy to feature expanded cafe menus and even sit-down table service: Customers want the store to be a destination for more than simply buying books.

The Balance Of Personalization

Personalization in stores remains a huge emphasis for retailers. With 40 percent of consumers wanting personalized messaging delivered to them while shopping in stores, this statistic also means that 60 percent of consumers want no such personalized engagement.

This doesn’t mean brands should ease up on their personalization efforts. Consumers have the option of enabling push notifications through mobile retail apps, and they can always opt out of certain types of content. Meanwhile, customers wanting personalized experiences can use this to get product recommendations and better customer service while in stores.

Clienteling solutions like Concierge are able to maximize these efforts at personalization, and it also helps improve operations in stores by empowering store associates to be more productive when helping shoppers. As this technology becomes more familiar to consumers, demand is likely to increase, and that majority uninterested in personalization will continue to shrink.

For that reason, investments into in-store personalization are also an investment into your company’s future, especially on the brick-and-mortar front. Retailers have no choice but to adjust their strategy to answer consumers’ present-day demands, but they should also be forward-thinking enough to build a long-term strategy anticipating how those demands will change over time.